Tom stays positive on the road to recovery

Posted in Dishing the Dirt on Tue 06 Aug ’13


Tom Owens – always positive

Tom Owens’ 2013 season has been a bit of a washout, to date. After the Salomon and Scotland international skyrunning specialist was diagnosed with ruptured peroneus longus tendon in the spring he underwent some pretty extensive surgery…

Some 6 months later and Tom is on the comeback trail after a few months of successful rehabilitation. We caught up with the Glasgow-based runner for a few minutes on his year so far, and what lies ahead:


MST: 2013 has been a pretty frustrating year for you so far Tom, tell us about what happened.

TO: My peroneal tendon started hurting and became mega swollen during a run at the start of February this year. The pain and swelling remained consistent despite rest & the ankle kept giving way. An ultrasounds scan at the start of May revealed a ruptured peroneus longus – worse than the physios expected … no wonder it wouldn’t heal! My frustrating year ended once I knew the only choice was surgery – it was a big relief to have a proper diagnosis. Operation was in June to fix the tendon and the surgeon also repaired my ATFL ligament which I ruptured playing football several years ago & had never properly healed. The surgery went very well.

© Tom Owens

MST: When you get such an injury it must be pretty hard to stay focussed on the long-range picture and how you might be out for a whole season?

TO: Once I knew the tendon was ruptured I accepted there would be no hill season this year, so the tendon has plenty of time to get strong.

TO: I do miss running but now I’ve been out for 6 months I’ve got pretty used to it! Life has slowed down & I’ve been kept busy enough with other stuff. Also works been good & I’ve been putting in the hours while I can.

MST: Have you been watching with interest on the whole skyrunning, fell running and trail running scene? Or like some other elite athletes do you find it hard to watch the success of others when you are injured?

TO: I’ve missed the running scene & have enjoyed hearing what’s going on, especially when friends are running in races. I don’t feel upset or angry just pretty detached from it all. I’m a pretty lousy sport follower at the best of times (with the exception of the Tour de France this year) & am notoriously bad on social media….fortunately Mud Sweat & Tears keeps me up to date 😉

© Tom Owens

Tom has still been attending fell races!

MST: What have you been doing to stay ‘fit’, if anything?!

TO: When I was in plaster, getting about on crutches was a good work out. Especially living in a top floor tenement flat! The last few weeks I’ve been able to start strengthening the tendon with thera bands and introducing balance work. I’ve also focused on strengthening my injured leg which had wasted away due to the dormancy.

TO: Cardio fitness has been less important than the strength work. I did a few short sessions in the hydrotherapy pool and then progressed to some short sessions on the cross trainer. The last couple of weeks I’ve returned to cycling for some potters including commuting to work. I now feel confident clipping into the pedals again & so should be able to get some decent rides in now. Hopefully the aerobic fitness will return quickly.

MST: You have been in situations before where you have had injuries to overcome, and you have come back stronger than ever. is the prognosis looking good on this one, and when you might be back training and ‘race action’?

TO: I’m physically well rested & mentally more chilled out than I’ve ever been! The ankle is feeling great & moving well. Luckily I’ve felt no pain since the surgery. I’ve been given the nod to try a run in one weeks time & have got some orthotics which should help. It’s going to be a slow build up but exciting times!

TO: I’m not sure about racing timescales. Although fitness should return quickly, mentally it might take a while longer till I can fully trust the ankle on descents. But whatever the level, I’ll be back in the hills in due course!


Tom in race action at Giir di Mont in 2012

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